Healing & moving on from a painful separation

There is a purpose for everyone you meet. Some people come to test you, some to teach you, some to use you and some to bring out the very best in you. – Unknown

I went through a painful breakup more than 6yrs back. It was a decade long relationship; we were childhood sweethearts, which had started developing cracks through the years. I think both of us had been behaving like ostriches out of fear (they bury their head in the ground when they sense danger). Finally, I decided to call it off, a move not accepted by him or his family. My parents supported me but left the choice completely to me. It was at that terrifying moment that I realised I had to make the decision on my own. We always go to our parents for advice, but this makes you realise that you are finally an adult. What if I was wrong, what if I never found happiness again? So many thoughts and only me to blame for this.

But I also knew, that I couldn’t spend the next few decades of my life like this. So, with a heavy heart, I called it quits. The next year was absolute turmoil to say the least.

Here are a few life lessons I learnt along the way:

Why seeking avoidance tactics doesn’t work: I have written about this in my previous article, where I would do everything not to think about it. not feel what I should be feeling – low, angry, resentful etc. I would work hard, party, socialise, shop, travel everything to avoid feeling what I should have. And honestly it got tiring but that was the only way I had learnt to handle bad situations – denial and distraction.

But it is only now that I realise how wasteful it is to do that. You need to go through the emotions, to let them loosen their grip on you. It is the only way to make peace with what is happening to you. They say cancer is a manifestation of the emotions bottled up. You don’t want that right? So, learn to make peace with them. It’s a calmer journey.

Know your worth: This is so important that I can’t talk enough about it. There is enough and more around us to make us feel under-confident right? Do we need one more human being to magnify that? Added to that is the whole insecurity of going through the breakup. It can take a huge toll on your self-worth. And it’s not only about post breakup, so many remain in unhappy relationships because they don’t have confidence in themselves or feel pressurised by society.

In my case, the many hurtful things said to each other, over the years, had created deep wounds and my self-image had taken a beating. It took a long time for me to regain my self-confidence. Therapy too helped me see some of the mind blocks that had formed as a by-product.

Honestly, if you are in a crappy relationship, it’s not wrong to feel you deserve better. It doesn’t make you selfish. And it’s not about blaming the other person, because they come with their filters too, like you.

Washing dirty linen in public: Both of us had an amicable separation. we grew up together, and if it was not in our best interest to be together, so be it. We still are there for each other, just in a different way. We still catch up on each others’ lives and cheer each other’s successes. This probably is not for everyone. But one thing we did, was respect each other through the separation. It’s easy to blame, to resent, to be angry. Of course we both felt these emotions, but never let it become public. It’s a private affair and best left at that.

Forgiveness is key:‘Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself – Suzanne Somers’

It most definitely is. Since the only person suffering through it, is you. You don’t have to forget, you just have to be able to forgive them and yourself, to move on. Carrying these emotions can be such a burden, and when you make peace with them, so liberating!

Understand when to get help: It took me quite sometime to move on and I had decided to bottle up all the emotions. But now, through therapy, I have realised how powerful it can be, to have someone to just talk to and get over the overwhelming pain. Your family and close friends too can play the role if you are comfortable. Anyone who can be your anchor.  

What do you learn from it: You know; this relationship taught me so much. I just had to give it time to understand how much I grew from it. A failed relationship is most often a two-way street. And I too had done a lot to bring it down.

The best part is, you carry all this amazing reservoir of knowledge into your next relationship. Of course, you will make mistakes there too, but if you have truly learned a few lessons, some of the worst ones you might avoid. It also helps you understand what you want and don’t want in a relationship. A bit more practicality is always healthy.

Where am I now you ask? Well, it took me sometime to trust someone with my heart again. But now, am in a relationship which is honestly teaching me so much, every day. Where we help each other become the best versions of ourselves, always there when the other takes a fall, raising our child and fighting my cancer together. Of course, I did have some demons of my past, which would rise up, once in a while, but I learnt quickly to prevent them in the future. Had to work on myself for that, and it was well worth it.

So, if you are moving on from a hurtful relationship, hold on and believe that the universe has some good things in store for you. Be open to it, and most importantly, this is the one time you will truly have to start loving yourself!